Transatlantic Trends 2005
After a first term marked by a crisis in transatlantic relations around the war in Iraq, the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 seemed likely to some observers to prolong estrangement between the United States and Europe. Strikingly, President Bush launched his second term with an ambitious diplomatic effort to improve relations with Europe, setting a new tone of cooperation and identifying democracy promotion as the centerpiece of his foreign policy, a goal on which he hoped Americans and Europeans could agree. Six months into this new term, as the Administration looked for signs of a new spirit of transatlantic cooperation, the European Union (EU) found itself in crisis with the French and Dutch rejections of the referenda on the proposed European constitutional treaty. Many worried that a prolonged period of “introspection” about its future would turn the EU inward, away from foreign policy challenges in the Balkans, the Middle East, and beyond.
Conducted in June 2005, this survey allows us to evaluate the impact of President Bush’s efforts to mend relations with Europe, as well as European attitudes toward the EU at a time of crisis. We found that the Administration’s efforts have not yet moved European public opinion, although concerns about increased anti-Americanism have also not materialized. Europeans continue to feel positively about the EU even after the referenda rejections, and most Europeans have not made up their minds whether the inclusion of Turkey would be good or bad for the EU. Notably, Europeans support the goal of democracy promotion even more than Americans. Americans continue to be divided about President Bush after his re-election and especially about international institutions like the United Nations. However, on many issues there is considerable bipartisan agreement. Significant popular support exists on both sides of the Atlantic for the United States and Europe to work together to face global problems. Large majorities of both major political parties in the United States want the EU to exert international leadership just as large majorities of Europeans would like to see the EU cooperate with the United States.
Transatlantic Trends is a comprehensive annual survey of American and European public opinion. Polling was conducted in the United States and ten European countries: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The survey is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo, with additional support from the Fundação Luso-Americana and Fundación BBVA.
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